The Tony Awards, Broadway’s ceremony for spectacular theatre works has returned finally.
In honor of the best live theatrical acts, the big wigs gathered at the venerable Winter Garden Theater in New York over the weekend.
The ceremony titled “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” followed an initial hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impressionable theme was in line with Broadway’s anticipated return. The show was split into two parts; Tony’s ceremony itself on Paramount+ and a concert special on CBS.
Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, oversaw the first part of the ceremony while Grammy Award singer and actor Leslie Odom Jr. hosted the closing concert special.
But awards aside, several amazing performances filled up the night. From the emotional speeches in memory of the lives lost due to the pandemic to the mesmerizing display put up by a host of Broadway legends that performed on stage.
Here are four memorable moments that viewers are sure to remember from the ceremony.
Leslie Odom Jr. Doubled As Host & A Performer
Odom showed that he was the king of versatility as he displayed his emcee skills alongside his singing prowess at the show.
The singer who won a Tony five years ago for playing Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” started the special with a solo song “Broadway’s Back,” that was a fitting nod to theater’s long-awaited return.
The song began with him singing on the streets outside the theater. Then he walked into the theater and on stage.
The song also included lyrics that paid homage to several legendary Broadway shows and a plea from Odom for people to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
He later performed two duets, collaborating with Josh Groban to sing “Beautiful City” from “Godspell” and with his wife Nicolette Robinson, on “You Matter to Me” from “Waitress.”
Victory At Long Last
Danny Burstein’s near misses at the Tony awards is a story with which Broadway sweethearts are very familiar.
After seven nominations throughout his career, Burstein finally got his first win in one of the ceremony’s most memorable and touching moments. The “Moulin Rouge!: The Musical” star took home the Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Harold Zidler.
In his speech, he appreciated everyone for their good wishes when he was sick with COVID, and after the demise of his partner, Rebecca Luker, who passed in December following a harrowing battle with ALS.
“You all showed up for us. You were there for us; whether you just sent a note or sent your love or sent bagels, it meant the world to us,” he said.
“And it’s something I’ll never forget. I love being an actor on Broadway.”
Not Too Old To Win
Lois Smith sure proved her haters wrong by becoming the oldest acting winner in Tony’s history.
The three-time Tony Award nominee won the 2020 award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in “The Inheritance.” She achieved this immense feat at age 90, with a career spanning over seven decades.
“I love the processes of the live theater,” Smith said while she received her award.
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“There’s a famous two-word message from Howards End — on which The Inheritance is based — which is so apt, I think, tonight for all of us who are here celebrating the importance, the functions, of live theater: ‘Only connect.’”
Among her numerous awards, Smith has also been inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame for her outstanding contributions to the theatre.
The Closing Ceremony
The curtain rose on the 74th Tony Awards with three breathtaking duets that brought past Broadway co-stars to the stage.
First up was Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel reuniting to perform “For Good” from the emotional musical “Wicked.”
Original Rent stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp then teamed up to sing “What You Own,” while Brian Stokes Mitchell and ceremony co-host Audra McDonald performed “Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime.
The last act was from Lin-Manuel Miranda alongside the cast of “Freestyle Love Supreme.” They sprang up a rap performance to recap the day’s event in four minutes.
The audience got in on the fun, perfectly ending the night that marked the return of Broadway. Whew! What a day to remember.